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US offers reward for information on Americans kidnapped in Afghanistan

Street scene in Kabul, Afghanistan. (ICMA Photos/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. State Department has offered up to $5 million in rewards for information that helps locate and free two Americans kidnapped in Afghanistan.

Paul Overby, 77, disappeared in 2014 in Khost near the border with Pakistan while researching a book on the Afghan people and it appeared he planned to cross the border into Pakistan to continue his research.

He was trying to arrange an interview with the head of the Haqqani network, an arm of the Taliban, when he disappeared, his wife said in 2017.

The second man, Paul Frerichs, 58, was kidnapped in February 2020. At the time he was living in Kabul. He had relocated to the city in 2010 and spent a decade in the country working on construction projects.

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The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service offered the reward through its Rewards for Justice office, a statement said on August 26. The FBI are advertising the reward offer of up to $5 million for information leading to the return of Overby and Frerichs.

The State Department said in its announcement that all information submitted will be kept strictly confidential.

The Rewards for Justice Program has been used since 1984. The program has paid more than $150 million to more than 100 people who provided information that helped bring terrorists to justice or prevented acts of terrorism worldwide.